Bernie Sanders Unveils Resolution to End US Support for Saudi-Led War in Yemen

As U.S. President Joe Biden visits the Middle East this week, three senators introduced a joint resolution to end the United States’ involvement in the Saudi-led war on Yemen.

The resolution is sponsored by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — and, according to the trio, it is already backed by a bipartisan group of over 100 House members.

“We must put an end to the unauthorized and unconstitutional involvement of U.S. armed forces in the catastrophic Saudi-led war in Yemen and Congress must take back its authority over war,” Sanders said in a statement, detailing the dire conditions in the region.

“More than 85,000 children in Yemen have already starved and millions more are facing imminent famine and death,” he pointed out. “More than 70% of Yemen’s population currently rely on humanitarian food assistance and the U.N. has warned the death toll could climb to 1.3 million people by 2030.”

“This war has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis today and it is past time to end U.S. complicity in those horrors,” Sanders declared. “Let us pass this resolution, so we can focus on diplomacy to end this war.”

While a cease-fire in Yemen has held over the past few months, peace advocates and progressive lawmakers have continued to call for an end to U.S. support for the yearslong war.

“The war in Yemen has been an unmitigated disaster for which all parties to the conflict share responsibility,” Leahy said Thursday. “Why are we supporting a corrupt theocracy that brutalizes its own people, in a war that is best known for causing immense suffering and death among impoverished, defenseless civilians?”

Both Leahy and Warren emphasized that U.S. participation was never congressionally authorized.

“The American people, through their elected representatives in Congress, never authorized U.S. involvement in the war — but Congress abdicated its constitutional powers and failed to prevent our country from involving itself in this crisis,” Warren said.

Not long after taking office last year, Biden announced an end to U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition’s “offensive operations” in Yemen. However, his administration has continued to allow arms sales and provide maintenance and logistical support.

The U.S. president is set to head to Saudi Arabia on Friday. Responsible Statecraft noted Thursday that “in an op-ed explaining the reasoning behind the trip, Biden touted an ongoing truce in Yemen, but didn’t say whether he would press for an end to the war.”

As the senators’ statement explains, their resolution — which comes after a similar one introduced in the House last month — would “follow through on Biden’s pledge” from last year by:

  • Ending U.S. intelligence sharing for the purpose of enabling offensive Saudi-led coalition strikes;
  • Ending U.S. logistical support for offensive Saudi-led coalition strikes, including the provision of maintenance and spare parts to coalition members flying warplanes which are bombing Yemen; and
  • Prohibiting U.S. military personnel from being assigned to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany Saudi-led coalition forces engaged in hostilities without specific statutory authorization.

The statement highlighted that the resolution “is considered privileged in the Senate and can receive a vote on the floor as soon as 10 calendar days following introduction.”